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Dead Pool 16th January 2022

The big news this week is the passing of Marlon Bundo, or BOTUS,  the bunny that ran America behind the scenes whilst Trump and Pence made a fuck up of everything. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Jenna Jameson has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, leaving her in the hospital and unable to walk. The former adult film star shared her diagnosis on Instagram. “I’m dealing with a little syndrome called Guillain-Barré Syndrome, so I’m working through that,” she said in a video. “And I just wanted to let you know that I see all your DMs and I appreciate it so much. “The doctors suspect Guillain-Barré syndrome and have started my IVIG treatment. I am in the hospital and will likely remain here until treatment is complete. I hope to be out of here soon,” she wrote in the caption. Jameson also shut down any speculation of the Covid-19 vaccine contributing to her health issues. She wrote, “PS I did NOT get the jab or any jab. This is NOT a reaction to the jab. Thank you for your concern.” Over the weekend, Jameson’s partner, Lior Bitton, with who she shares 4-year-old daughter Batel Lu, took to Instagram to reveal that she was in the hospital undergoing tests after “not feeling so good.” Bitton additionally shared that Jameson had been throwing up for two weeks prior to going to the hospital last week, only to be sent home after. “Then she came back home and she couldn’t carry herself,” Bitton said in the video. “Her muscles in her legs were very weak. So she wasn’t able to walk to the bathroom. She was falling on the way back or to the bathroom, I would have to pick her up and carry her to bed. And then within two days, it got really not so good, her legs started to not hold her, she wasn’t able to walk.” Guillain-Barré syndrome is defined by the CDC as a “rare, autoimmune disorder in which a person’s own immune system damages the nerves, causing  muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.” Symptoms can last from weeks to several years. 

Sir David Attenborough was left injured after being stabbed by a cactus with needles like “glass” while on the set of his new documentary. The 95-year-old broadcaster was filming for the BBC series The Green Planet when he faced off against the cholla cactus in California. Describing the rare plant as an “active aggressor” coated in “spicules of glass”, Sir David approached the cactus and put his hand inside the plant. Despite the layers of protection provided by thick gloves, he was left with a “painful” hand injury. Recounting the experience, he said: “The cholla really is a physical danger. It has these very dense spines in rosettes, so they point in all directions. “And if you just brush against it, the spines are like spicules of glass, I mean they are that sharp and they go into you and you really have trouble getting them out. So that is a really dangerous plant. The cholla is an active aggressor. I mean, you feel you better stand back and you better watch out.” The series’ executive producer, Michael Gunton, whose idea it was to send Sir David into danger, said: “One of the joys of going on location is thinking up horrible things to get David to do. So what we did, because it was so dangerous, was we got a Kevlar under-glove, and then on top of that, a welding glove. So you can imagine that’s about as good protection as you could possibly get. David bravely put his hand inside this cholla cactus, as requested. And halfway through it, these spikes still managed to get through those two bits of protection. And it’s quite painful, isn’t it?” Mr Gunton observed how the cactus was “so dangerous” that many animals avoided it. “Not only does it puncture you, but they sort of act like a trap,” he said. “So if you put your hand into it, you can’t remove your fingers and you do unfortunately find grisly signs of an animal that has gone and got trapped by it.” The upcoming three-part series from the BBC’s Natural History Unit shows the naturalist getting up and close with a range of plants from the US to Costa Rica and across Europe, to show the intricate lives of plants and the ecosystems that flourish around them. The documentary was filmed in 26 countries over four years and marks the first time he has returned to the filming the world of plants in 27 years, since his 1995 series the Private Life of Plants. According to the BBC, The Green Planet aims to show “how science and technologies have advanced, and how our understanding of the ways in which plants behave and interact has evolved”. 

Sinéad O’Connor has been admitted to  the hospital, one week after her 17-year-old son was found dead. The “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer told fans on Thursday night that she was heading to hospital to receive help after sharing in a series of disturbing Twitter posts that she planned to take her own life. “I’ve decided to follow my son. There is no point living without him. Everything I touch, I ruin. I only stayed for him. And now he’s gone,” she wrote on an unverified Twitter account linked to her official account. O’Connor, who has been open about her own mental struggles and suicidal thoughts in the past, went on to say she felt “lost,” and blamed herself for her teenage son’s death. The mother-of-four followed the thread an hour later by apologising for her alarming posts and reassuring fans that she was seeking medical attention. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I am with cops now on way to hospital. I’m sorry I upset everyone,” she posted, adding: “I am lost without my kid and I hate myself. Hospital will help a while. But I’m going to find Shane. This is just a delay.” O’Connor’s representatives declined to comment on the matter to the flying monkeys. Shane O’Connor’s body was discovered on January 7th, two days after he went missing, the singer’s management company confirmed to the flying monkeys on Saturday. O’Connor announced his death on Twitter, saying her “beautiful” son “decided to end his earthly struggle.” “Nevi’im Nesta Ali Shane O’Connor, the very light of my life, decided to end his earthly struggle today and is now with God,” she wrote. “May he rest in peace and may no one follow his example. My baby. I love you so much. Please be at peace.” 

  • Insincere disclaimer in case you feel suicidal, go find someone who gives a shit, life is hard, toughen up. Try The Samaritans or some other do-gooders, there are phone numbers you can find somewhere or other. Otherwise, try to do it quietly and don’t leave a mess for others to clean up. 

On This Day

  • 1362 – Saint Marcellus’s flood kills at least 25,000 people on the shores of the North Sea.
  • 1862 – Hartley Colliery disaster: Two hundred and four men and boys killed in a mining disaster, prompting a change in UK law which henceforth required all collieries to have at least two independent means of escape.
  • 1945 – Adolf Hitler moves into his underground bunker, the so-called Führerbunker, it doesn’t end well for him.
  • 2003 – The Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for mission STS-107 which would be its final one. Columbia disintegrated 16 days later on re-entry.

Deaths

  • 1936 – Albert Fish, American serial killer, rapist and cannibal (b. 1870)
  • 2020 – Christopher Tolkien, British academic and editor (b. 1924)
  • 2021 – Phil Spector, American record producer, songwriter (b. 1939)

Last Meals 

Wanda Jean Allen was sentenced to death in 1989 for the murder of Gloria Jean Leathers, 29, her longtime girlfriend. Allen was the first black woman to be executed in the United States since 1954. She was the sixth woman to be executed since executions resumed in the United States of America in 1977. Her final appeals and the last three months of her life were chronicled by filmmaker Liz Garbus in the documentary The Execution of Wanda Jean (2002). 

Wanda Jean Allen was born on August 17th, 1959, the second of eight children. Her mother was an alcoholic; her father left home after Wanda’s last sibling was born and the family lived in public housing and scraped by on public assistance. 

At the age of 12, Allen was hit by a truck and knocked unconscious, and at 14 or 15 she was stabbed in the left temple. It was found that Allen’s actual abilities were markedly impaired and that her IQ was 69. Found particularly significant was that the left hemisphere of her brain was dysfunctional, impairing her comprehension, her ability to logically express herself, and her ability to analyse cause and effect relationships. It was also concluded that Allen was more chronically vulnerable than others to becoming disorganised by everyday stresses, and thus more vulnerable to a loss of control under stress. By age 17, she had dropped out of high school. 

In 1981, Allen was sharing an apartment with Dedra Pettus, a childhood friend-turned-girlfriend. On June 29th, 1981, they got into an argument, and Allen shot and killed Pettus. In her 1981 confession, Allen stated that she accidentally shot Pettus from roughly 30 feet away while returning fire from Pettus’ boyfriend. However, the forensic evidence was inconsistent with Allen’s story; in particular, a police expert believed that bruises and powder burns on Pettus’ body indicated that Allen had pistol-whipped her, then shot her at point-blank range. Nevertheless, prosecutors cut a deal with Allen, and she received a four-year sentence in exchange for a guilty plea to a manslaughter charge. She served two years of the sentence. 

Seven years after the death of Dedra Pettus, Allen was living with her girlfriend Gloria Jean Leathers. The two met in prison and had a turbulent and violent relationship. On December 2nd, 1988, Leathers, 29, was shot in front of The Village Police Department in Oklahoma City. Fifteen minutes before the shooting, the two women were involved in a dispute at a grocery store. A city officer escorted the two women to their house and stood by while Leathers collected her belongings. Leathers and her mother were on their way to file a complaint against Allen. When Leathers exited the car, Allen fired one shot, severely wounding Leathers in the abdomen. Leathers’ mother witnessed the shooting. Two police officers and a dispatcher heard the shot fired, but no police department employee witnessed the shooting. The police recovered a .38-caliber handgun they believe was used in the shooting near the women’s home. Leathers died from the injury three days later, on December 5th, 1988. 

Allen spent 12 years on death row. Her application for clemency was denied.

While in prison, she became a born-again Christian. The Reverend Robin Meyers, who served as a spiritual adviser to Allen, is quoted as saying: 

“I always suspected that Wanda’s renunciation of lesbianism had more to do with helping to revamp herself in the most palatable way for her clemency and appeal processes. She knew perfectly well that her being a lesbian was a big strike against her and that it’s an  embarrassment in the black community. She was going to play the best hand that she could play at the very end.” 

Allen enjoyed a bag of crisps prior to her execution by lethal injection on Thursday, January 11th, 2001 at Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Twenty-four relatives of murder victim Gloria Leathers and manslaughter victim Dedra Pettus traveled there for the execution. Many of them watched the execution from behind a tinted window. While lying on the execution gurney, Allen said, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” She also stuck her tongue out and smiled at her appeal lawyer, Steve Presson, who had become her friend. He says she was “dancing on the mattress, while they tried to kill her.” She was pronounced dead at 9:21 p.m. Relatives of Leathers expressed the execution gave them “closure”. She was buried at Trice Hill Cemetery in Oklahoma City.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Lin-Manuel Miranda (42), John Carpenter (74), Caroline Munro (73), Eva Habermann (46), Kate Moss (48), James May (59), Sade (63), James Nesbitt (57), Claudia Winkleman (50), DJ Jazzy Jeff (57), Jason Bateman (52), Kevin Durand (48), Faye Dunaway (81), Carl Weathers (74), Grant Gustin (32), Mark Addy (58), LL Cool J (54), Dave Grohl (53), Orlando Bloom (45), Ruth Wilson (40), Liam Hemsworth (32), Michael Peña (46), Bill Bailey (57), Kirstie Alley (71), Rob Zombie (57), Howard Stern (68), Jeff Bezos (58), Jason Connery (59), Mary J. Blige (51), Rachel Riley (36), Jemaine Clement (48), Evan Handler (61), and Rod Stewart (77).

Dead Pool 9th January 2022

It’s not every year we can start off with awarding points. Lee correctly guessed that Igor  Bogdanoff would almost instantly follow his twin brother; well done Lee, so he gets the ‘First Death of the Year’ bonus points too, but a few of you also had movie legend Sidney Poitier. Well done to Scott, Gwenan, Shân and Fiona, 56 points each. We’ve certainly started the year with a bang!

As not to annoy everyone with hundreds of alerts, I have created a splinter group of email poolers who have not signed up to the Telegram Group, those few are the only ones who will get an email from now on as I don’t want them to feel left out. If any of you would rather get an email, please let me know and I’ll add you to that group. 

And a big thank you to all of you who donated towards the cause, I certainly couldn’t run the dead pool without your support. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro was admitted to  the hospital on Monday with abdominal pain, his doctor Antonio Luiz Macedo told the Flying Monkeys from the Bahamas. He was taken to the Vila Nova Star hospital in the south of Sao Paulo. Dr Macedo said that the president was under the tutelage of his team so far and that he is flying to Sao Paulo in the afternoon. The Flying Monkeys quoted Dr Macedo as saying that the president shall undergo more tests “to find out what is in the abdomen. We still don’t know, but it could be caused, for example, by poorly chewed food, among other factors.” He also said that the suspicion, for now, is of a new intestinal obstruction — technically called “intestinal subocclusion.” In July last year, Mr Bolsonaro spent four days at the Vila Nova Star hospital for treatment of intestinal obstruction. However, surgery was ruled out at the time. The president was travelling, off duty, to Santa Catarina even as 25 people have died in the recent heavy rains in the state of Bahia in Brazil. About 116 cities in the country’s northeastern state of Bahia are in a state of emergency. The president arrived in a Brazilian Air Force plane from Santa Catarina on Monday morning and was taken by the presidential delegation to the hospital. Dr Macedo also operated on the president after he was stabbed in the stomach at a campaign rally in September 2018. Since then, the president has been admitted to hospitals on several occasions.   

BBC newsreader George Alagiah has said he thinks the cancer he has had since 2014 will “probably get me in the end”, but that he still feels “very lucky”. “I don’t think I’m going to be able to get rid of this thing. I’ve got the cancer still. It’s growing very slowly.” Alagiah was first diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in April 2014. But he said he was able to look back at the “great good fortune” in his life. Speaking with the Flying Monkeys, Alagiah said that when his cancer was first diagnosed, it took a while for him to understand what he “needed to do”. “I had to stop and say, ‘Hang on a minute. If the full stop came now, would my life have been a failure?’ And actually, when I look back and I looked at my journey… the family I had, the opportunities my family had, the great good fortune to bump into (Frances Robathan), who’s now been my wife and lover for all these years, the kids that we brought up… it didn’t feel like a failure.” He also spoke about his treatment, saying: “My doctor’s very good at every now and again hitting me with a big red bus full of drugs, because the whole point about cancer is it finds a way through and it gets you in the end. Probably… it will get me in the end. I’m hoping it’s a long time from now, but I’m very lucky.” Alagiah has also worked as a BBC News foreign correspondent and specialist on Africa and the developing world, covering events including the Rwandan genocide and interviewing Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In October, the journalist said he was taking a break from TV to have treatment after “a further spread of cancer” was discovered. He said in June 2020 that the cancer had spread to his lungs, liver and lymph nodes. When asked what piece of wisdom he would give, he spoke about the need for people to think more collectively. “I think it would be to constantly ask the question, ‘What is it we can do together?'” he said. “I spent a lot of my time in Africa, and in South Africa they have a word: Ubuntu. It’s the idea that I’m only human if I recognise the humanity in you. “There’s this collective notion of life which I think we have lost.”   

Scots comedian Janey Godley is out of surgery after her hysterectomy operation. Janey’s daughter Ashley Storrie took to her mother’s Twitter page to give an update to fans. Just before Christmas, the 60-year-old revealed that she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and would need to undergo a full hysterectomy. The major operation was delayed due to Covid but Janey is now out of surgery and in recovery. Taking to Twitter, Ashley wrote: “It’s @Ashleystorrie here. Mum is out of surgery and is in recovery. Her time in the operating theatre went relatively well, and a full hysterectomy was achieved. Bunty has left the building. Thank you so much for all your kind words, positive thoughts and prayers.” Last night she joked she was having a hen style party for her tumour. She shared on Twitter: “My last night with my womb, we are having a pre op “hen party” I have been drawing Fallopian tubes on cards and pin the tumour on the ovary, we’re having cocktails of flat water and tomorrow at 7am I am off – thank you Scottish NHS and everyone here for lifting me up.” Prior to her major surgery, Janey revealed that she even wrote her ‘ final joke’ with her comedian daughter Ashley Storrie. As a coping mechanism Janey and her talented daughter Ashley have been trying to see the humour in the situation. She recently said she didn’t want ‘rubbish songs’ played at her funeral, and Ashley has now admitted they have both made up her final joke in case she doesn’t survive surgery. Ashley tweeted: “This is going to sound really weird, but if mum dies in surgery… well we’ve written her final joke. “It’s going to kill. Also there will be a Hashtag in her wee funeral pamphlet for funeral selfies (which I encourage). Morbid. But talking about it made me feel better.” She added: “I’m going to call it her funeral Programme like at a theatre, and just have a page with her previous shows listed and an advert for a local restaurant. “Get some buzz going for the show… Is it illegal to charge admission for a purvey? Get a wee table up the back with Janey Godley’s Funeral commemorative mugs.” Janey agreed that the two have been busy making the plans and added: “The laugh we had today organising what might be my last “theatre” performance made me laugh so hard, we have plans, hopefully not for years but if I go, my last hurrah is going to be a belter – a great production.”

On This Day

  • 1806 – Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson receives a state funeral and is interred in St Paul’s Cathedral.
  • 1909 – Ernest Shackleton, leading the Nimrod Expedition to the South Pole, plants the British flag 97 nautical miles (180 km; 112 mi) from the South Pole, the farthest anyone had ever reached at that time.
  • 1927 – A fire at the Laurier Palace movie theatre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, kills 78 children.
  • 2007 – Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces the original iPhone at a Macworld keynote in San Francisco.
  • 2015 – A mass poisoning at a funeral in Mozambique involving beer that was contaminated with Burkholderia gladioli leaves 75 dead and over 230 people ill.

Deaths

Bizarre Deaths From History

Garry Hoy worked for a law firm in Toronto, Ontario. The 38-year-old corporate and securities lawyer had a bizarre party trick that he enjoyed demonstrating for visitors to his office on the 24th floor. To demonstrate the strength of the unbreakable office windows, Hoy would launch his body at them and bounce off.  On July 9, 1993, Hoy was giving a tour of the firm to young law students when he decided to showcase his trick. Unfortunately, while the glass did not break, the entire window popped out of its frame, and Hoy fell to his demise.

Born in San Francisco in 1877, Isadora Duncan achieved renown as a dancer when she moved to Europe in her 20s. She was painted by the press as living a bohemian, eccentric life, and her performances celebrated independence and self-expression. On September 14, 1927, Duncan was in the passenger seat of the brand-new convertible sports car she was learning to drive when her enormous red scarf blew into the well of the rear wheel on the passenger side. It tightened around her neck and dragged her from the car and onto the cobblestone street.

In June 2016, 23-year-old Colin Scott and his sister were visiting Yellowstone National Park when he decided to try and soak in a thermal pool. The pair left the defined boardwalk area and entered into dangerous territory. This area was forbidden from guest access due to the danger of its geothermal activity. When they reached a pool, Scott attempted to dip a toe in to test the water, but slipped and fell in completely. Search and rescue was called off after several hours when it was determined that, due to the water’s acidity and heat, any remains were most likely dissolved.   

Franz Reichelt was an Austrian-born tailor living in France, and was known as an inventor and parachuting pioneer. Reichelt earned the nickname “The Flying Tailor” for developing his wearable parachute suit.  In 1911, Colonel Lalance of the Aéro-Club de France offered a prize of 10,000 francs to anyone who could create a safety parachute, and Reichelt was keen to put his interests and knack for invention to use. He developed his suit and successfully tested it on several dummies, dropping them from the fifth floor of a building. He finally received permission to perform his test at the Eiffel Tower, but when he got there, he made it clear that it would be him in the suit and not the dummy. On February 4, 1912, Franz Reichelt jumped from the Eiffel Tower. His parachute wrapped around him and he plummeted 187 feet to his demise. The event was captured and shown on newsreels.

In 2011, a terrorist in Russia had her plans thwarted by a spam text. The woman, dubbed “The Black Widow,” was preparing an explosive device for an attack and had a cell phone attached as its detonation device. A spam message from her mobile carrier (wishing her a happy new year) set the device off early, taking her life in the process.  

Sweden’s King Adolf Frederick reigned from 1751 to 1771, and had quite a large appetite. During his reign, Swedish civil rights increased, as did the freedom of the press, and the country witnessed an extended period of peace. But no matter what was accomplished, the king will always be remembered for eating himself to death. February 12, 1771, was Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday in some countries. It’s the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, where Christians forgo certain indulgences and refrain from eating some kinds of food for 40 days. So traditionally, Shrove Tuesday is a day of indulgence.  Adolf Frederick indulged in lobster, caviar, kippers, sauerkraut, boiled meats, turnips, and champagne. Then for dessert, he had 14 semlas (small buns made from white flour), each served in a bowl of hot milk flavoured with cinnamon and raisins. Later that day, he died of digestive problems.   

Hans Steininger was the beloved mayor of Braunau am Inn, Austria. Steininger had an impressive beard that measured 4-and-a-half feet long. He would keep it rolled up and neatly tucked into a pocket so as not to get in the way. On September 28, 1567, a fire broke out in the town. Steininger tripped over his beard and fell down a flight of stairs, killing himself. To honour him, the town built a statue of their mayor, cut off his magnificent beard before he was buried, and put it on display. The town still showcases the statue and beard – which they probably prefer to be remembered for, rather than as the birthplace of Adolph Hitler.  

The Sentinelese, hunter-gatherers who inhabit North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal, are considered one of the Earth’s last uncontacted peoples. They have made it more than apparent that they do not wish to interact with the outside world, as every attempt to come close has been met with aggression. In 2004, when a helicopter from the Indian Coast Guard flew overhead, it was met with bows and arrows. Twenty-six-year-old American adventure blogger John Allen Chau was aware of this when he went to the tribe in 2018 as a missionary to teach them about Christianity. After Chau was helped to the island by fishermen, he was attacked but managed to escape. He returned the next day and was killed.  

Thomas Midgley Jr. was responsible for popularising the use of two of the most dangerous substances of the 20th century. He helped popularise the use of lead in gasoline (and contracted lead poisoning while working on the project), led the team that discovered freon, and helped popularise the use of chlorofluorocarbon in refrigeration. Both lead and chlorofluorocarbon have been cited as particularly harmful pollutants in the atmosphere. When Midgley was 51, he was left disabled from illness, and devised an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys to lift himself out of bed. Midgley became entangled in his invention and was strangled to death.  

During a battle in Spotsylvania, VA, on May 9, 1864, a Union Army general named John Sedgwick laughed as his men attempted to escape musket fire. He proclaimed: “What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? Why are you dodging like this? They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.” Moments later, he was put down by a Rebel shooter. 

In July 1184, a bizarre, tragic, and, to some, comic event known as the Erfurt Latrine Disaster took place. A mix of nobles and high-ranking officials met at St. Peter’s Church in the German city of Erfurt at the behest of King Heinrich VI to settle a dispute. As the group gathered in one of the church’s rooms, the floor gave way and collapsed. Underneath the floor was the church’s latrine – basically, its personal sewer system where all of its waste was collected. It’s estimated that somewhere between 60 and 100 people drowned in the disaster. 

Milo of Croton was an ancient Greek athlete from the sixth-century BCE and the most renowned wrestler of the time. Milo is credited with having led the Crotoniate army to victory over the Sybarites around 510 BCE and was a six-time Olympic victor. According to the traditional account of his demise, the elderly Milo decided to try and tear apart a tree with his bare hands. His hands got stuck in the tree and Milo was devoured by wolves. 

Last Week’s Birthdays

J.K. Simmons (67), Imelda Staunton (66), Joely Richardson (57), James Acaster (37), Michelle Forbes (57), Amber Benson (45), Nicolas Cage (58), Jeremy Renner (51), Linda Kozlowski (64), Erin Gray (72), Lewis Hamilton (37), Eddie Redmayne (40), Kate McKinnon (38), Norman Reedus (53), Rowan Atkinson (67), Clancy Brown (63), Bradley Cooper (47), January Jones (44), Diane Keaton (76), Robert Duvall (91), Hayao Miyazaki (81), Vinnie Jones (57), Marilyn Manson (53), Graham McTavish (61), Emma Mackey (26), Julia Ormond (57), Matt Frewer (64), Julian Sands (64), Mel Gibson (66), and Victoria Principal (72).

Dead Pool 2nd January 2022

Welcome to the first edition of 2022. Thank you all for joining  the fun this year. A few of the old regulars have dropped out this year, so the group is slightly smaller. As always, please update your email lists if you intend to use them, otherwise we’re all going to be using the Telegram Group going forward.

Look Who You Could Have Had 2021:

Look Who You Could Have Had 2022:

  • Gary Burgess, 46, British broadcaster (ITV Channel Television), cancer.

In Other News

Prior to her death on New Years Eve, Dead Pool favourite Betty White shared her secrets to a long, healthy life ahead of her 100th birthday. Betty, who would have turned 100 on 17th January, reflected on her longevity and health in an interview with People magazine for this week’s cover issue, which will now probably be rewritten, much like this article! Betty revealed that she felt “so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age”. According to White, one of her secrets pertained to her diet, with the actor telling the outlet: “I try to avoid anything green. I think it’s working.” This is not the first time White had shared insight into her eating habits, as she previously said that she loved vodka and hot dogs, “probably in that order”. The Golden Girls actor, who had been acting since high school said “I got it from my mom, and that never changed,” she said. “I always find the positive.” While the Grammy winner had been in the public eye for a large part of the last 10 decades, she did enjoy a “quiet life” at home in Los Angeles, California, where she liked to play crossword puzzles and card games, and watch animal documentaries, golf and Jeopardy! For the issue celebrating White, People also spoke with some of the actor’s former co-stars, such as Sandra Bullock, who praised the 99-year-old’s comedic timing. “Timing isn’t easy in comedy, because you have to navigate other people’s timing. Betty pivoted like I have never seen, making it look seamless,” she said. “The rest of us just remain silent and pray we’re not cut out of the scene.” As for how she hopes White celebrates her centennial birthday, Bullock said she wants her to embrace the day “the same way she has celebrated every day of her life with humour, kindness and a vodka on ice, toasting to the fact that she’s a badass who has left us all in the dust”. Well Sandra, that prediction didn’t come true! Carol Burnett also had praise for the late star, who she applauded for her ability to “twist a line to get a laugh”. “She’d come on my show, and if there was a tinge of risqué humour in one of our sketches, she’d roll with it and make it even funnier and add a little wink to show that she was thinking of something sexy,” Burnett said. “She’s not a stand-up. She’s not a jokester. It’s the way she can twist a line to get a laugh.”  According to Mary Steenburgen, the Hot in Cleveland star also enjoyed shocking people with her humour in real life, as she said that White “loves to throw her little F-bombs around and does it with this beautifully dimpled smile”. While many had praise for White’s humour, Steenburgen’s husband, Ted Danson, who worked alongside White on her ocean conservation efforts, said that he looked to the longtime actor for guidance on how to live. “It’s not like she’s just a bubbly, joyful person. She woke up every day and chose to be that way,” he said. “I think she lead a very purposeful life.”   

One of the UK’s most dangerous serial killers will die in an underground glass box after his last-ditch appeal to live alongside other prisoners was rejected. Robert Maudsley, 68, is being held in a private underground cell beneath the general population of HMP Wakefield, after killing four men between 1974 and 1978. The Liverpudlian, who killed child molesters and one wife killer, was told this week that he will be incarcerated in his ‘glass box’ until he dies.  It came after bosses at the prison ruled him too dangerous to mix with prisoners and guards at the West Yorkshire jail. An insider said: ‘He was told no last month but appealed against the decision and wanted to spend Christmas in the presence of other humans. But he’s just been told no for the final time. Being alone for that long does something to you. He isn’t OK and they cannot take the risk of what he might do.They simply cannot take the risk.’ Maudsley must now live out the rest of his days in a 5.5 x 4.5 metre cell, which was built especially for him in 1983 and is protected by bullet proof glass. He spends 23 hours of each day in the cell, sleeping on a concrete slab and using a toilet and sink which are bolted to the floor. He also has a table and chair made of compressed cardboard. The convicted killer, from Toxteth, Liverpool, committed his first murder in 1974, aged just 21. He killed John Farrell in Wood Green London, after he showed Maudsley pictures of children he had sexually abused. He handed himself in to police and was deemed unfit to stand trial, and was sent to Broadmoor Hospital, home to some of Britain’s most violent inmates. Maudsley generally stayed out of trouble for his first few years behind bars, before he and fellow prisoner David Cheeseman locked themselves in a cell with child molester David Francis in 1977. They tortured Francis to death before dangling his body for prison guards to see. Maudsley was convicted of manslaughter and sent to HMP Wakefield. In 1978, Maudsley strangled and stabbed Salney Darwood, 46, who had been jailed for killing his wife. He hid Darwood’s body under bed before sneaking into the cell of paedophile Bill Roberts, 56, who had sexually abused a girl aged seven. He stabbed Roberts, hacked his skull with a makeshift dagger and smashed his head against a wall. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he never be released. In 2000, he begged the courts to allow him to die, writing in a letter: ‘What purpose is served by keeping me locked up 23 hours a day? Why even bother to feed me and to give me one hour’s exercise a day? Who actually am I a risk to? As a consequence of my current treatment and confinement, I feel that all I have to look forward to is indeed psychological breakdown, mental illness and probable suicide. Why can’t I have a budgie instead of flies, cockroaches and spiders which I currently have. I promise to love it and not eat it? Why can’t I have a television in my cell to see the world and learn? Why can’t I have any music tapes and listen to beautiful classical music? If the Prison Service says no then I ask for a simple cyanide capsule which I shall willingly take and the problem of Robert John Maudsley can easily and swiftly be resolved.’ The Ministry of Justice said it does not comment on the cases of individual prisoners.

On This Day

  • 1959 – Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon and to orbit the Sun, is launched by the Soviet Union.  
  • 1967 – Ronald Reagan, past movie actor and future President of the United States, is sworn in as Governor of California.  
  • 1971 – The second Ibrox disaster kills 66 fans at a Rangers-Celtic association football match.  
  • 1976 – The Gale of January 1976 begins, resulting in coastal flooding around the southern North Sea coasts, affecting countries from Ireland to Yugoslavia and causing at least 82 deaths and US$1.3 billion in damage.  
  • 1981 – One of the largest investigations by a British police force ends when serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, the “Yorkshire Ripper”, is arrested in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

Deaths

Last Week’s Birthdays

Tia Carrere (55), Kate Bosworth (39), Cuba Gooding Jr. (54), Sam Spruell (46), Frank Langella (84), Jennifer Hale (57), Sharon Small (55), Val Kilmer (62), Anthony Hopkins (84), Ben Kingsley (78), Gong Li (56), Jane Badler (68), Tracey Ullman (62), Eliza Dushku (41), Fred Ward (79), Caity Lotz (35), Tiger Woods (46), Lilly Wachowski (54), Jude Law (49), Jon Voight (83), Ted Danson (74), Danny McBride (45), Patrick Fischler (52), Bernard Cribbins (93), Marianne Faithfull (75), Denzel Washington (67), Maggie Smith (87), Joe Manganiello (45), Noomi Rapace (42), Sienna Miller (40), Nichelle Nichols (89), John Legend (43), Timothée Chalamet (26), Olivia Cooke (28), Gérard Depardieu (73), John Amos (82), Wilson Cruz (48), and Maryam d’Abo (61).

Winner Declaration & Review of 2021

Well, what an end to the year!!! With Betty White popping off very late in the day, she totally upset everything! With rewritten lists for 2022, and most of all, toppling Laura from the top of the league table in what looked to be a sure thing!  I literally had the trophy in the back of the car to drive over!! 

So to declare the winner! Well done Ceri, with an amazing 580 points!! Including both Cert and Woman and the first death of the year, you can’t do better than that! Commiserations to Laura, nipped at the post at the last minute with 574 points!!! An honourable mention to Paul C for coming third with 453 points and a whopping 8 deaths out of 13!!! 

Just above we have a St Pepper’s of all of those who have died during 2021, shared with us by Nickie on the Telegram group. If you click on the image you will get the full size picture, likewise with the answers below; see if you can name them all.

Right, let’s have a quick look at who we lost in 2021. 

January

  • Larry King had a career spanning more than six decades and thousands of interviews, quizzing world leaders and entertainers. His broadcasting fame began in the 1970s with his radio programme The Larry King Show and he went on to have his own television show, Larry King Live on CNN. He died in hospital in Los Angeles, aged 87, a few weeks after contracting coronavirus. Later US media reports said his immediate cause of death was sepsis and not the virus. 
  • Gerry Marsden of Gerry And The Pacemakers, was perhaps best known for covering the Rogers And Hammerstein song You’ll Never Walk Alone with his band – leading Liverpool Football Club to adopt it as their official motto and anthem. Born in the Toxteth area of Liverpool in 1942, Marsden also penned the ’60s hits Ferry Cross the Mersey and Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying. He died in hospital at the age of 78, with his agent paying tribute to a musical “legend”. 
  • Siegfried Fischbacher was world renowned for his Las Vegas magic shows involving white lions and tigers, with his illusionist partner Roy Horn. Both born in Germany, and co-founded their stage act after meeting on a cruise ship in the late 1950s. They took the show to Las Vegas in 1967 and went on to perform for the next four decades, becoming a Vegas institution. The illusionist died at his home in the Nevada city at the age of 81, after suffering with pancreatic cancer. 
  • Marion Ramsey The actress and singer was best known for her role as squeaky-voiced Officer Laverne Hooks in the Police Academy films. She got her big screen break in the first Police Academy film in 1984, a comedy franchise about a group of misfit police recruits causing havoc on the streets of America. The films became cult classics, with Ramsey starring in six of the seven films. She died at her Los Angeles home aged 73.
  • Phil Spector, known for his Wall of Sound production method, Spector worked with a number of stars in the 1960/70s. In 2009, he was jailed for a minimum sentence of 19 years for murdering actress Lana Clarkson. He always maintained his innocence and claimed Clarkson died from accidental suicide. He died in prison at the age of 81 after being diagnosed with the coronavirus. 
  • Pierre Cardin The legendary designer Pierre Cardin, whose futuristic and stylish designs helped revolutionise fashion in the 1950s and 60s. The French fashion giant, whose career spanned more than 70 years, helped usher in the post-war “golden age” of couture with his modern style. He broke ground by bringing designer styles to the masses with some of the first ready-to-wear collections. He died in hospital at the age of 98.

February

  • Captain Sir Tom Moore After inspiring the nation during lockdown by raising tens of millions of pounds for the NHS in 2020. He had become a national treasure and a household name after raising more than £32m for the health service by walking 100 laps of his garden with his Zimmer frame – and was knighted for his efforts by the Queen at Windsor Castle. He died at the age of 100 after contracting COVID-19. 
  • Christopher Plummer was best known for playing Captain von Trapp in The Sound Of Music, but had more recently starred in Knives Out, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and A Beautiful Mind. Amongst the most decorated in his field, he won an Oscar, two Primetime Emmys, two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a BAFTA during his career. He died at home in the US, aged 91. 
  • Johnny Briggs played Coronation Street’s Mike Baldwin for 30 years, an often unscrupulous character known for his affair with Deirdre Barlow and his long-running feud with her husband, Ken. Briggs starred in 2,349 episodes of the successful ITV soap. Briggs died at the age of 85, following a long illness, rumoured to have been cancer. 
  • Rush Limbaugh was a US radio host known for his controversial views on climate change, feminism and homosexuality. Limbaugh was a staunch supporter of Donald Trump during his time in office, which probably tells you all you need to know about him. He died of advanced lung cancer aged 70. 
  • Larry Flynt the founder of porn magazine Hustler and campaigner for the First Amendment in the US. Flynt was one of the biggest names in pornography, founding Hustler magazine in 1974. From there, he built a portfolio of clubs, publications, adult films and casinos – but attracted a number of lawsuits involving the right to free speech. He died from heart failure at the age of 78.  

March

  • Murray Walker‘s The legendary Formula One commentators voice provided the backing track to some of the sport’s most iconic moments, from James Hunt’s 1976 championship win over Niki Lauda, to Nigel Mansell’s 1992 title triumph. His career in broadcasting spanned more than 50 years, for the BBC and ITV, before he retired from commentating in 2001. Sadly he died at the age of 97 after being diagnosed with he blood cancer lymphoma. 
  • Yaphet Kotto, best known for his turn as a James Bond villain in Live And Let Die. He was the franchise’s first black antagonist, playing Dr Kananga and his alter-ego Mr Big in the 1973 film opposite the late Sir Roger Moore as 007. He also starred as technician Dennis Parker in Alien in 1979 and opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1987 action film The Running Man. He died at the age of 81 near Manila, his wife declined to reveal his cause of death. 
  • Sabine Schmitz the Queen of the Nürburgring and occasional Top Gear star was probably best known for beating Jeremy Clarkson whilst driving a white van. Schmitz had previously revealed that she had been suffering with cancer since 2017. She died at the age of 51. 
  • Ian St John the Scottish professional football player, coach and broadcaster. St John played as a forward for Liverpool throughout most of the 1960s. He later became media pundit and co-presented the topical football show Saint and Greavsie with Jimmy Greaves from 1985 to 1992. He died after a long battle against bladder cancer at the age of 82. 

April

  • Prince Philip died just two months before his 100th birthday. He had been married to Queen Elizabeth II for more than 70 years and was the longest-serving consort in British history, carrying out more than 22,000 solo engagements by the time he stepped back from public life in 2017. Known for his mischievous sense of humour – as well as the occasional gaffe – he once jokingly referred to himself as “the world’s most experienced plaque unveiler”. 
  • Helen McCrory died at the age of 52 after being diagnosed with cancer. She was best known as crime family matriarch Polly from Peaky Blinders, appearing in the show from 2013 to 2019. She was a versatile actress with a career on stage and screen spanning almost 30 years. 
  • Nikki Grahame shot to fame in Big Brother in 2006, entering the famous house dressed as a Playboy bunny and going on to become one of the series’ most memorable contestants. While in the house, she became well known for her tantrums, including the infamous “who is she?!” rant in the diary room chair. She died after a long-running battle against eating disorders, aged 38. 
  • DMX died one week after suffering a “catastrophic cardiac arrest”. The 50-year-old, whose real name was Earl Simmons, had been admitted to intensive care in New York. DMX was signed by Columbia Records in 1992 and released his first album, It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot, in 1998. In all, he released seven albums and received three Grammy nominations throughout his career. Known for repeatedly being arrested and jailed, he suffered with a drug addiction and numerous trips to rehab. 
  • Paul Ritter was an actor was widely loved for his portrayal of dad Martin Goodman in the successful Channel 4 TV show Friday Night Dinner. The actor, also starred in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, the acclaimed TV series Chernobyl and the James Bond film Quantum Of Solace. He died of a brain tumour with his family by his side at the age of 54. 
  • Bernie Madoff the fraudster and financier who ran the largest Ponzi scheme in history, worth about $64.8 billion!! For his crimes he was sentenced to 150 years in prison. He died in prison of kidney failure at the age of 82.

May

  • Charles Grodin was best known for his roles in The Heartbreak Kid, Midnight Run and two Beethoven movies. Steve Martin was among those paying tribute following his death, describing Grodin as “one of the funniest people I ever met”. He died at the age of 86 from bone marrow cancer. 
  • Eric Carle was the man behind children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, published in 1969, which told the story of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly. The story sold more than 40 million copies around the world, was translated into 60 languages and was turned into everything from cuddly toys to stage shows. He died from kidney failure, a few weeks before his 92nd birthday. 
  • Nick Kamen was best known for stripping off in a launderette to wash his jeans in the famous 1980s Levi’s advert. In their tribute, Levi’s described the star as “the man who made the 501 even more iconic”. Kamen, whose real name was Ivor Neville Kamen launched a career in pop music in 1986 with the number five hit Each Time You Break My Heart, a collaboration with Madonna from his eponymous debut album. Kamen died at his London home aged 59, following a long battle with bone marrow cancer.  
  • Max Mosley was a barrister, amateur racing driver and president of the FIA. Mosley was the youngest son of Sir Oswald Mosley, former leader of the British Union of Fascists. In 2008, Mosley won a court case (Mosley v News Group Newspapers) against the News of the World newspaper which had reported his involvement in what they said was a Nazi-themed sex act involving five women, on the grounds that it had breached his privacy. He died on at the age of 81 after suffering from cancer. 

June

  • Ned Beatty was an Oscar-nominated character actor who appeared in dozens of films and TV shows throughout his career. Rising to fame with a role in Deliverance in 1972 – which was controversial due to his character’s rape scene – he went on to appear in films including Superman alongside Christopher Reeve, Network, All The President’s Men, and Charlie Wilson’s War. He died of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles, aged 83.  
  • Ben Roberts the Welsh actor most famous for his portrayal of Chief Inspector Derek Conway in the ITV British television series The Bill. Other numerous television appearances include The Professionals and Casualty. He died at the age of 70. 
  • John McAfee was a British-American computer programmer who wrote the first commercial anti-virus software, founding McAfee Associates to sell his creation. In later years he ran for the presidential office but also had many legal issues, including murder and tax evasion. He was found dead at the age of 75 due to an apparent suicide by hanging in his prison cell near Barcelona shortly after his extradition to the U.S. was authorised.

July

  • Dusty Hill was the bassist and vocalist with US rock band ZZ Top. Born Joe Michael Hill in Dallas, he formed the group in Houston in 1969 with bandmates Frank Beard and guitarist Billy Gibbons, and soon after they recorded their debut album, ZZ Top’s First Album, in 1970. The band had still been performing up until not long before Hill’s death at the age of 72. 
  • Robert Downey Sr the renowned filmmaker and father to Robert Downey Jr. Born in 1936 in New York City as Robert Elias Jr, he changed his name to Downey so he could enlist in the army. After he left the military, Downey Sr made his name as a radical and anti-establishment filmmaker, and is known for projects such as Putney Swope and Greaser’s Palace. He passed away at the age of 85 after having Parkinson’s disease for over five years. 
  • Richard Donner the film-maker was behind some of the most popular films of the 1980s, including The Goonies, The Omen, the Lethal Weapon series and the original Superman. The New York-born director started his career in TV in the 1960s, taking charge of episodes of shows such as The Man from UNCLE, The Twilight Zone and Kojak. He died at home at the age of 91 of cardiopulmonary failure with atherosclerosis as an underlying cause. 
  • Tom O’Connor started out as a teacher, before launching a comedy career in working men’s clubs. The first comedian to win Opportunity Knocks three times running, he established himself as a household name through the 1970s and ’80s and hosted Name That Tune and Crosswits. His brand of humour was 100% clean and always totally family friendly. O’Connor, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2007, died in hospital aged 81. 
  • Andy Fordham was an English professional darts player, commonly known as The Viking. He won the 2004 BDO World Darts Championship and the 1999 Winmau World Masters. Fordham died in hospital from organ failure after a long battle with health problems. He was 59. 

August

  • Charlie Watts joined The Rolling Stones as their drummer in 1963, playing on legendary rock hits including I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, Paint It Black and Brown Sugar. Originally trained as a graphic artist, Watts developed an interest in music at a young age. He was often regarded as one of the greatest drummers of all time. Watts died at a London hospital, at the age of 80, with his family around him. 
  • Sean Lock was best known for panel shows 8 Out Of 10 Cats and 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown. His death came as a huge shock in August. Aged 58, the star had been suffering from cancer but kept his diagnosis private. 
  • Una Stubbs enjoyed a stellar television career which included appearances in numerous shows, but she was best known for her roles in Till Death Us Do Part, Give Us a Clue, Sherlock and Worzel Gummidge. She died after several months of ill health at the age of 84, with her family around her. 

September

  • Sarah Harding rose to fame with the girl group Girls Aloud on Popstars: The Rivals in 2002, alongside Cheryl, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh. The band got to Christmas number one that year with their debut single, Sound Of The Underground, and went on to become one of the most successful pop groups in British music history. She died aged 39 after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020.  
  • Michael K Williams was a multiple Emmy nominee who earned nods for his roles in Bessie, The Night Of, When They See Us and, earlier this year, Lovecraft Country. The Brooklyn-born star also won fans for his role as Chalky White in the period gangster series Boardwalk Empire, but was best known for playing Omar Little in hit crime drama The Wire. He died at the age of 54 from an accidental drug overdose. 
  • Sir Clive Sinclair, was an English entrepreneur and inventor, best known for being a pioneer in the computing and electronics industries in the 1970s and early 1980s. His most famous inventions included a calculator, the ZX Spectrum and the spectacular commercial failure C5 Battery Vehicle. He died in London following an illness related to cancer that he had for over a decade. He was 81 years old.
  • Jimmy Greaves,was an English professional footballer who played as a forward. He is England’s fifth-highest international goalscorer (44 goals), Tottenham Hotspur’s highest ever goalscorer (266 goals), the highest goalscorer in the history of English top-flight football (357 goals), and also scored more hat-tricks (six) for England than anyone else. After retiring as a player Greaves went on to enjoy a successful career in broadcasting, most notably working alongside Ian St John on Saint and Greavsie. He died at his home in Danbury aged 81. 
  • John Challis,was an English actor who had an extensive theatre and television career but is best known for portraying Terrance Aubrey “Boycie” Boyce in the long-running BBC Television sitcom Only Fools and Horses.Challis died of cancer aged 79

October

  • Halyna Hutchins death shocked the world. On set in New Mexico working on the Western film Rust, the 42-year-old died after a gun held by actor and producer Alec Baldwin went off during a rehearsal. Ms Hutchins had been working as the director of photography on the film, a role she had previously held on the 2020 action film Archenemy. 
  • James Michael Tyler was undoubtedly best known for playing Gunther in Friends throughout all 10 series of the hit comedy, famously having a crush on Jennifer Aniston’s character, Rachel Green. Tyler died aged 59 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018.  
  • Sir David Amess, who died after being stabbed at a constituency surgery. The Southend West MP Sir David, 69, had been an MP for 38 years, having first been elected to parliament in 1983. He never held a ministerial role during his long parliamentary career, he instead focused his efforts from the backbenches of the House of Commons. 
  • Colin Powell,was the first African-American secretary of state. As secretary of state, Powell gave a speech before the United Nations regarding the rationale for the Iraq War, but he later admitted that the speech contained substantial inaccuracies. He was forced to resign after Bush was re-elected in 2004. Powell, who was being treated for multiple myeloma, died at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center of complications from COVID-19 at the age of 84. 

November

  • Lionel Blair‘s entertainment career spanned seven decades, including appearances as an actor, tap dancer, presenter, and choreographer. He was best known as a team captain on the TV game show Give Us A Clue, appeared in the West End as the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium, and more recently appeared on reality TV shows such as Celebrity Big Brother and The Real Marigold Hotel. He died at the age of 92. 
  • Stephen Sondheim was the composer and lyricist behind some of the world’s best-known musicals, including the lyrics for West Side Story and Sweeney Todd, during a 60-year career. His death at the age of 91 was reported to have been sudden, just hours after celebrating Thanksgiving with his family. 
  • Dean Stockwell best known for playing Admiral “Al” Calavicci in Quantum Leap, the hologram ally to Scott Bakula’s time-travelling physicist Sam Beckett. He also starred in Battlestar Galactica and films including Dune, Married To The Mob and Blue Velvet. He passed away peacefully at his home of natural causes at the age of 85. 
  • Mei Jones was a Welsh actor and writer. He was best known for his part as Wali Thomas in the Welsh language sitcom C’mon Midffild! which he also co-wrote. Jones and fellow C’Mon Midffild! cast-member, Bryn Fôn were detained in 1990 along with two other people following the investigation into the campaign of holiday home fires set by the Welsh nationalist movement Meibion Glyndŵr. He died at the age of 68. 
  • Mary Collinson was chosen as Playboy magazine’s Playmate of the Month in October 1970, together with her twin sister Madeleine Collinson. They were the first identical twin Playmate sisters. Both sisters has a brief film career with Hammer Films, notably Twins of Evil. She died from bronchopneumonia in Milan at the age of 69. 

December

  • Jethro, real name Geoffrey Rowe rose to fame in the 1980s and was best known for his unique style and observational comedy, including pieces about living in Cornwall. A regular on TV shows hosted by Des O’Connor, his other TV credits included the 2001 Royal Variety Performance and Jim Davidson’s Generation Game. He died aged 72 after contracting COVID-19. 
  • Michael Nesmith found fame with the 1960s pop group The Monkees, with hits including I’m A Believer, Daydream Believer and Last Train To Clarksville. The group also appeared in a self-titled television series, which first aired between 1966 and 1968. Nesmith died aged 78, just a few weeks after finishing a Monkees farewell tour with drummer Micky Dolenz, now the last surviving member of the group. 
  • Carlos Marín was part of Il Divo, the classical crossover group conceived by Simon Cowell in 2003. Signed to his label Syco, they went on to release 10 studio albums and sell some 30 million records. He also performed in a number of musicals, including Les Miserables, Grease, and Beauty And The Beast. Marín contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalised in Manchester. He was subsequently put into a medically induced coma, and died at the age of 53. 
  • Desmond Tutu was an Anti-apartheid veteran and an outspoken critic of the South Africa’s previous brutal system of oppression against the country’s Black majority. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his campaign of non-violent opposition to South Africa’s white minority rule. He died from cancer at the Oasis Frail Care Centre in Cape Town at the age of 90. 
  • Anne Rice wrote the 1976 novel Interview With The Vampire, which was adapted into a film starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in 1994. The book is also expected to be made into a TV series in 2022.The gothic novelist died due to complications from a stroke at the age of 80. 
  • Sir Antony Sher a ‘giant of the stage’ and Olivier Award-winning actor starred in a number of Royal Shakespeare Company productions, including a career-defining performance as Richard III. Off-stage he had roles in films including Shakespeare In Love and Mrs Brown. He died from cancer at his home in Stratford-upon-Avon at the age of 72. 
  • Sir Frank Williams was the founder of the Williams Formula One team. He was the team principal from its foundation in 1977 until 2020. During that period, the team won nine constructors’ championships and seven drivers’ championships. Williams was admitted to hospital in Surrey in late November and died shortly after at the age of 79.  
  • Betty White a ‘cultural icon’ who died days from 100th birthday. The Golden Girls star, whose career spanned eight decades, reportedly died at her home on New Year’s Eve. She made her TV debut singing on an experimental channel in Los Angeles in 1939. 

Dead Pool 26th December 2021

Lets start the last newsletter of the year by awarding some points! Well done to Laura, who was the only one to have listed Desmond Tutu, 60 points! Further solidifying her 1st place position with less than a week to go. Goes to show how important it is to get your Big Threes. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

William Shatner was involved in a car crash in Los Angeles on Tuesday, with the Star Trek legend thought to be unharmed. The 90-year-old, who recently took part in a brief trip into space, was involved in a two-car collision in the Studio City area of LA, according to the Evil Monkeys. He was seen immediately after the incident, wearing a mask as he made a phone call and waited outside one of the cars. The front of one of the vehicles involved in the collision had crumpled, a silver Acura, with officers from Los Angeles Police Department later arriving at the scene. A black Mercedes SUV was also involved in the crash, with its bumper mangled following the incident. The actor was joined by a female companion, who was seen alongside Shatner as he made calls. The James T. Kirk actor recently made history as the oldest person to fly to space, when he launched in Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Shatner became emotional after landing back on solid earth, with the star saying: ‘Everyone in the world needs to do this. It was so moving to me. This experience has been unbelievable. In a way it’s indescribable,’ he revealed, stating that it was ‘the most profound experience I can imagine. I am so filled with emotion about what just happened, it’s extraordinary. Extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this. I hope I can maintain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it. It’s so much larger than me. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death.’ One can only  assume he was still slightly sidetracked when he smashed his car!   

Boxing ring announcer David Diamante has been left with critical injuries after a motorcycle crash on Wednesday. The 50-year-old, who announced some of the biggest fights of the last few years including Jake Paul’s professional debut, will need to “learn to walk again” after being involved in an accident in New York yesterday. He required five hours of surgery after being admitted to a New York hospital, with nine screws, multiple rods, and cadaver parts placed in his spine as a result of the crash. The ring announcer also suffered multiple broken ribs and damage to his right knee during the crash, which took place on Third Avenue in Brooklyn. Diamante has received hundreds of messages of support after the crash, including posts from Paul, Eddie Hearn and a number of top fighters. The Baltimore native is one of the most renowned ring announcers in the world, and has been called “The Voice of Boxing” by BBC Sport. “It’s going to be a tough road,” Diamante told the Evil Monkeys. “It’s a bad injury and getting better will take some time. This will be a struggle. I’ll have to learn to walk again, and right now there’s a risk of complications. But I have a positive attitude and will be back as soon as possible.” Diamante is famous for his catchphrase “the fight starts now”, and has been signed with DAZN and Matchroom Boxing since 2018. His most recent assignment was Saturday night’s heavyweight clash between Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora at the AO Arena in Manchester, which Parker won by unanimous decision. He has also covered Muay Thai and MMA events, as well as appearing in films and television projects such as 2015’s Southpaw starring Jake Gyllenhal. The boxing announcer was in contact with fellow mic legend Michael Buffer after the surgery, who said that he is expected to make a return to the ring once he has recovered. “I spoke to him today and he’s very optimistic,” Buffer said in a response to a fan on Twitter. “David’s a fighter and has met big challenges in his life. This will be another one! The details will be his to disclose but I’m sure we’ll see him back in the ring again – strong, fit and recovered!” With his extra cadaver parts!!!   

Dutch cyclist Amy Pieters is in an induced coma following a fall  during a training ride with the national team in Alicante this week. Pieters, 30, lost consciousness after the collision and was taken to hospital by air ambulance. The Dutch national road race champion had surgery to relieve pressure on her brain caused by the fall. She remains in an induced coma, Dutch Cycling said, adding that an assessment would be possible “in a few days”. Pieters recently became the Madison world champion, alongside Kirsten Wild, for the third consecutive year and won stage two of the Women’s Tour in 2021. She also won the Dutch national road race and Nokere Koerse earlier this year. Dutch Cycling added: “At the moment, no further announcements can be made regarding the accident.”

On This Day

  • 1862 – The largest mass-hanging in U.S. history took place in Mankato, Minnesota, where 38 Native Americans died.  
  • 1898 – Marie and Pierre Curie announce the isolation of radium.  
  • 1941 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day in the United States, because one Christmas Day wasn’t enough. 
  • 1963 – The Beatles’ I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There” are released in the United States, marking the beginning of Beatlemania on an international level.   
  • 1980 – Witnesses report the first of several sightings of unexplained lights near RAF Woodbridge, in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, an incident called “Britain’s Roswell“.   
  • 2003 – The 6.6 Mw  Bam earthquake shakes southeastern Iran with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), leaving more than 26,000 dead and 30,000 injured.  
  • 2004 – The 9.1–9.3 Mw  Indian Ocean earthquake shakes northern Sumatra with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). One of the largest observed tsunamis, it affected coastal and partially mainland areas of Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Indonesia; death toll is estimated at 227,898.  

Deaths

Last Meals

As most of us were tucking into a massive meal yesterday, I thought we’d have a quick look at the phenomenon of the last meal. 

Most humans have a morbid curiosity about death. What does it feel like? When will it happen? Will I have a chance to devour my favourite KFC Meal before I go? Is a death-row meal simply the nice thing to do for a person about to die, or is it a waste of time and money for a convicted felon, about to receive their just desserts?

The food these killers want to eat is as varied as their crimes. If you’re a long time reader of this newsletter, you will know that sometimes what people eat for their last meals is sometimes insanely elaborate, requiring multiple courses, and other times they simply want a single olive.

For some reason, humanity has throughout history, frequently decided that no matter what horrible crime you’ve committed, if the state is going to kill you, it should at least give you a decent meal. The first known recording of this practice was in the Sumerian Code of Ur-Nammu back in 22nd century BCE. Roman gladiators were also treated to a large feast before they were inevitably slaughtered in the arena, and the Aztecs used to eat the people they sacrificed. No matter how you look at it, death and food have been paired across almost every culture for most of human history. 

Many of us have this idea in our heads that death row inmates can get pretty much whatever they want for their last meal. After all, even the most lavish meals probably couldn’t cost more than a couple hundred bucks, and it’s not like anybody will ever need to spend money on this person again. But actually, what criminals are allowed to have for their last meal varies pretty wildly from state to state, and can significantly affect what they ultimately eat.

Inmates are allowed to request whatever they want, but it’s up to the state to decide what they’ll actually get. For example, in Florida, the meal has to be locally purchased and can’t exceed $40. In Virginia, inmates are pretty much limited to whatever is on the monthly cycle. If you want hotdogs, you’d better hope it’s the first of the month. Most prison chefs do their best, but they can be heavily restricted by what they’re allowed to do and what they might have on hand. 

Back in 1989, Brian Price was sentenced to 15 years in a Texas prison after sexually assaulting his ex-wife. When he first showed up, the guards asked him what job he’d had on the outside. Being a musician and photographer, they obviously decided to make him a cook. After a couple years of that, Price was put in charge of cooking the meals for death-row inmates. This meant that for 11 years he cooked over 300 last meals for inmates about  to die.  

The crazy thing about Brian Price, the chef who prepared over 300 last meals, is that he himself was a prisoner. In fact, virtually all final meals are prepared by other inmates. It’s not like a prison will pay extra to hire a fancy chef to prepare a meal for convicted criminals sentenced to death, when they’ve got so many able-bodied inmates on hand.

Although there will always be exciting and lavish requests for last meals, most requests border on the juvenile. When looking through lists of last meals, the choices these criminals made can be depressingly basic. One meal was nothing but Coke and Cheez-Doodles, while another was merely a cheeseburger. For example, Timothy McVeigh ordered just two pints of ice cream, and Gary Heidnik ate nothing but two slices of cheese pizza and two cups of coffee.  

Generally speaking, inmates in America tend to be lower-class and poor. In particular, death row inmates skew towards the most impoverished when compared to other incarcerated criminals. Their socio-economic status can play out in the food they request for their final meals. Although Hannibal Lector might enjoy a fine Chianti with his meal, poorer inmates are less likely to even know what fine dining would look like.

This can mean lots of fast food request or meals that are heavy on bulk, even if they’re not particularly tasty. 

According to Brian Price, the press doesn’t always report exactly what meal an inmate gets. For example, once a newspaper reported a prisoner got 24 tacos and 12 enchiladas, but they actually only ate four tacos and two enchiladas. Now, that’s still plenty of food, but it probably doesn’t come off as exciting when an inmate eats a normal-portioned meal. 

After all, who wants to read the headline: “Inmate Eats Regular Last Meal”? Nobody.  

If you’re going to get the death penalty in America, you might as well go out like a true American, chomping down on fatty foods. It turns out that the most requested foods are fried chicken and cheeseburgers. It’s possible that prisoners are just looking for a taste that reminds them of simpler times. Something high in fat will certainly make them feel good.  

There is one curious thing that appears to happen with all last meals, that’s never been fully explained. After a last meal is prepared, it is covered and brought to the inmate. There isn’t much written on why the meal is put under a shroud, but it’s likely to help protect the privacy of the prisoner. Prisoners’ faces are also typically covered before an execution, both to protect onlookers from the nastiness of death, and to keep the person being killed a bit more calm. Maybe there is some sort of parallel there with the food as well.  

Anybody who has done something more than 300 times probably knows what they’re doing. That’s why the last-meals chef, Brian Price, decided to release a recipe cookbook detailing the more than 300 last meals he prepared during his tenure as a death-row chef. The book, Meals to Die For, is one of the many resources available when trying to find recipes and information about how to cook morbid, terrifying meals at home.

There are also countless books, websites, and even YouTube videos.

Texas is far and away the state most likely to sentence a convict to death. That’s extremely unfortunate for criminals with a complex palate, because in 2011, Texas abolished last meals entirely.

The problem was that Lawrence Brewer, a self-described white supremacist, ordered such a ridiculously lavish meal, that it called attention to what some lawmakers thought was “nonsense.” Brewer ordered a meal that included: “two chicken-fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions; a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger; a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapeños; a bowl of fried okra with ketchup; one pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread; three fajitas; a meat-lover’s pizza; one pint of Blue Bell Ice Cream; a slab of peanut-butter fudge with crushed peanuts; and three root beers.” Shockingly, he did not eat a single bite of it. 

State Senator John Whitmire was so mad about the huge meal, he vowed to get rid of the entire idea altogether. Sadly for the Texans on Death Row, Whitmire was successful.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Jared Leto (50), Kit Harington (35), Temuera Morrison (61), Sissy Spacek (72), Helena Christensen (53), Annie Lennox (67), Ricky Martin (50), Alison Sudol (37), Finn Wolfhard (19), Harry Shearer (78), Ralph Fiennes (59), Vanessa Paradis (49), Samuel L. Jackson (73), Kiefer Sutherland (55), Jane Fonda (84), Steven Yeun (38), Julie Delpy (52), Tom Payne (39), Jonah Hill (38), Jenny Agutter (69), Phil Donahue (86), Nicole de Boer (51), Lucy Pinder (38),